NewsLinks is a collection of recent news items relating primarily to the California judicial branch. NewsLinks does not verify nor endorse the accuracy or fairness of the news items, and the views expressed in opinions, editorials, and commentaries are those of the writers only.

Governor signs bill giving Chief Justice broader statewide powers

September 12, 2020 | At the Lectern
Governor Gavin Newsom yesterday signed Assembly Bill 3366, which, effective immediately, allows California’s Chief Justice to issue — on their own — statewide emergency orders concerning trial court operations, such as extending various statutory deadlines. The legislation amends Government Code section 68115, which had limited the Chief Justice to making emergency orders only on a county-by-county basis and only at the request of a county superior court’s presiding judge.
What happens when COVID shuts civil courts?

What happens when COVID shuts civil courts?

September 11, 2020 | Los Angeles Times
Brazile said pandemic closures pushed Los Angeles County Superior Court staff to accelerate the adoption of technology for remote visual and audio appearances, squeezing 18 months of work into three. Remote options are now available but can’t be mandated, he said.

High court turns back challenge to San Francisco’s new tax

September 11, 2020 | Daily Journal
(Subscription required) The state Supreme Court opened up as much as $300 million to fund homelessness programs in San Francisco by declining to review a case over the proper voting threshold for citizen-proposed tax measures, but anti-tax advocates wary of potential abuse are arguing the issue remains undecided.

California Is the Most Diverse State, Report Says

September 10, 2020 | U.S. News & World Report
Top-ranked California scored in the top five in three categories: socioeconomic diversity, household diversity and cultural diversity. The state scored highest of any state for linguistic diversity, part of the cultural category. Hawaii ranked third overall, in part from its top score in racial and ethnic diversity.

Court knocks down Trump attempt to exclude undocumented immigrants from census

September 10, 2020 | San Francisco Chronicle
President Trump’s 11th-hour order to exclude undocumented immigrants from the 2020 census, a move that could strip House seats and federal funding from states like California with large immigrant populations, violates long-standing law that requires the population count to include “the whole number of persons in each state,” a federal court ruled Thursday.

An eviction crisis is coming, housing lawyers warn

September 10, 2020 | ABAJournal
Tenants have been rallying across the country, including in San Diego, where Patricia Mendoza, a single mother of two who’s lived in fear since losing her job, spoke in front of the downtown courthouse. She says she waited months to start receiving unemployment benefits, and her bills continued to mount.

Judges: They’re Just Like Us ... Only Harder on Themselves

September 10, 2020 | The Recorder
Judge Jeremy Fogel said Wednesday that his colleagues on the bench face a couple of “unique challenges” when it comes to evaluating their own temperament and thinking about how their deep-seated traits come to bear on their work in the courtroom.
California Supreme Court rejects lawsuits seeking to reopen schools during pandemic

California Supreme Court rejects lawsuits seeking to reopen schools during pandemic

September 10, 2020 | Los Angeles Times
“It simply means that we will have to start the litigation by filing our claims in the Superior Courts because the court is not willing to permit this case to skip the lower courts,” Tyler said. “Once we proceed through the normal process, we believe we will still be victorious in the end.”

Orange County court elects new leadership

September 10, 2020 | Daily Journal
(Subscription required) Orange County Superior Court judges unanimously elected Erick L. Larsh as presiding judge and Maria D. Hernandez as assistant presiding judge in an uncontested election, the court announced Wednesday.
Editorial: Needed Assembly Bill 5 relief signed by Newsom

Editorial: Needed Assembly Bill 5 relief signed by Newsom

September 10, 2020 | Press-Telegram
With his signing of Assembly Bill 2257, Californians working jobs as diverse as musician, photographers, registered professional foresters, home inspectors, narrators, cartographers and some landscapers are freed from the confines of the destructive AB5.

State Bar once again pondering sale of San Francisco building

September 10, 2020 | Daily Journal
(Subscription required) The bar leases parts of the building to retailers and office tenants. Because of the pandemic, several of the tenants have indicated they will need less space when their contracts expire in 2021, Mazer told the committee.

California Supreme Court Urged to Ditch Online Bar Exam

September 09, 2020 | Bloomberg Law
Advocates have asked the California court to consider diploma privilege before, but their suggestions were rebuffed in mid-July, when the court ordered a two-day online test in October, and authorized a provisional licensing plan that allows some law school graduates to practice temporarily before passing the test.

Advocates accuse the governor of failing tenants as eviction court becomes the new battleground

September 08, 2020 | Sacramento News & Review
On the first day that California’s eviction courts reopened, landlords pulling up to the Carol Miller Courthouse in Sacramento were met by a crowd of protestors in front of the doors. Anyone planning to drop off an unlawful detainer order, better known as an eviction filing, would have to press through a gauntlet of chanting demonstrators.

Outbreak of COVID-19 in Santa Barbara County Jail Rapidly Expanding

September 08, 2020 | Santa Barbara Independent
After several largely successful months of preventing an outbreak of the virus among the jail’s incarcerated population, that streak appears to be over, as cases continue to multiply rapidly inside the walls of the jail.

Some judges don’t wear masks, igniting debate

September 08, 2020 | Daily Journal
(Subscription required) While courtrooms in the Salinas criminal courthouse do have Plexiglas coverings around the judge, Crawford said judges are still required to wear a mask under a county ordinance. Further, he said the danger of COVID-19 in the county has only increased in recent months.

California Supreme Court consistently unanimous, even in contentious cases

September 07, 2020 | San Francisco Chronicle
The California Supreme Court is as diverse in its composition — politically, racially and sexually — as the U.S. Supreme Court. But one attribute the state justices have that their national counterparts apparently lack is an ability to reach consensus — this year, almost 90% of their rulings have been unanimous.
Opinion: Why the state court system is experiencing a pandemic meltdown

Opinion: Why the state court system is experiencing a pandemic meltdown

September 07, 2020 | Los Angeles Times
More than anything, court leaders need to come together and coordinate a thoughtful response to operating during the pandemic so all 58 counties in the state can act in unison. Then our courts can get back to business — and not a moment too soon.
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